Third-string quarterback Austin Hinder has played the role of Oregon star Marcus Mariota on the scout team this week in practice.
Mobile and fast, Hinder seemed the obvious choice.
“Hinder did a good job of operating it. He moves around pretty good,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “I don’t know if he moves quite like their guy moves.
“If you’ve got a guy like that he’s going to be playing for you. He’s not going to be running the scout team.”
Mariota, one of the early frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy, has passed for 889 yards and seven touchdowns, without an interception, in No. 2 Oregon’s three wins. He’s also averaging a ridiculous 17.5 yards per rush, with four touchdowns.
A year ago, as a freshman, Mariota was 27 for 34 for 377 yards and six touchdowns in the Ducks’ 59-17 win at Cal.
Mariota certainly has the Bears’ attention, but Dykes said there’s only so much special treatment a team can give to any opposing player.
“For great players, there’s really no way to prepare except the same way you do for everybody else,” he said. “There’s obviously a heightened sense of awareness, and you have to do some things to account for him from a game-plan standpoint and make sure you have a person, two people on him.
“It’s the same when you’re playing against someone who doesn’t run as well. You still want angles, you still want guys getting off blocks, still want guys pursuing with the correct leverage to the ball.”